The big three public cloud service providers (CSPs) are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). They have attained their leadership positions by offering a wide variety of cloud-based products and services that address the needs of customers in virtually all market sectors.

The three providers all offer companies the flexibility, scalability, and cost-savings benefits associated with cloud computing. But there are some significant differences in the specific services and products they offer.

We’re going to look at some of the strengths and potential weaknesses of these popular cloud providers. Based on this information, one provider may stand out and offer exactly the services your company needs.

Amazon Web Services

AWS was launched in 2006, making it the oldest of the three CSPs. As a pioneer in the cloud computing space, AWS has built a strong foundation and demonstrated a facility for developing innovative solutions and services. Its longevity and diversity of services often make AWS the first company that comes to mind when considering public cloud providers.

AWS’s popularity is not without merit. They offer a streamlined path for customers to use the over 200 services they provide. The extensive network of globally distributed data centers enables customers to achieve optimal performance. AWS services are easy to use and provide robust security and virtually limitless scalability.

Operating system support

  • Linux – including Amazon Linux, CentOS, Debian, Oracle Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), Rocky Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), and Ubuntu.
  • macOS;
  • Raspberry Pi OS;
  • Windows Server.

Most used services

Some of the most popular services AWS offers are:

  • AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) – provides scalable compute capacity;
  • AWS Relational Database Service (RDS) – a customizable database engine;
  • AWS Simple Storage Service (S3) – provide persistent storage;
  • AWS Elastic Container Service (ECS) – for container management;

Platform advantages

AWS offers customers more services than the other two CSPs. It is the most mature platform and is thought of as the industry leader in cloud security and reliability. The platform has a greater number of availability zones than the competition, enabling customers to reduce workload latency. AWS is supported by the majority of software vendors whose products can be run on the platform.

Potential drawbacks

One of the main issues customers experience with AWS is the platform’s pricing strategy. The pricing model can be complex, resulting in difficulty in controlling costs when running high-volume workloads. It can be challenging for customers to navigate the extensive catalog of services and options.

Microsoft Azure

This cloud platform was started by Microsoft in 2010. Azure concentrates on enterprise customers already invested in Microsoft products. Organizations that make extensive use of Microsoft solutions on-premises may find Azure an attractive target for cloud migration.

Azure is popular with enterprise customers by facilitating the implementation of cloud or hybrid cloud solutions. While Azure’s emphasis is on Microsoft products, the platform also supports open source technologies and languages, making it an appropriate choice for organizations with diverse use cases.

Operating system support

Azure supports the following guest operating systems.

  • Windows Server;
  • Windows 10 – bring your own image;
  • Linux – including CentOS, ClearLinux, Debian, Oracle Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), and Ubuntu.

Most used services

Popular offerings from Azure include:

  • Azure Hybrid – for running a combination of on-premises and cloud workloads;
  • Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) – virtual desktop interface for Windows 10;
  • Azure Active Directory (AD) – identify services including multi-factor authentication;
  • Azure Cosmos DB – a NoSQL database featuring open APIs.

Platform advantages

Azure is generally less expensive than GCP or AWS. It provides streamlined integration for existing Microsoft environments and furnishes robust support for hybrid solutions. Azure’s AI and ML-powered analytics are considered to be the best solutions available.

Potential drawbacks

Azure’s focus on Microsoft environments can make it an inappropriate choice for some companies. The platform offers fewer services than AWS. In general, more expertise and maintenance are required by customers using this cloud platform.

Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

The Google Cloud Platform made its debut in 2011. GCP initially focused on platform as a service (PaaS) solutions tailored to the needs of developers. They have since introduced over 100 services that range from big data processing to streamlined networking.

Though offering fewer services than the other two CSPs, GCP can power any type of application. The company continues to innovate and introduce new services as it competes with AWS and Azure for market share.

Operating system support

GCP offers systems running the following operating systems.

  • CentOS;
  • Container-optimized OS (COS) – a proprietary Google OS optimized for running Docker containers;
  • Linux – including the Debian, Fedora CoreOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), Ubuntu, and the Rocky Linux distributions;
  • Microsoft SQL Server;
  • Windows client – Google does not provide Windows client images, so customers must bring their images;
  • Windows Server.

Most used services

Popular GCP services include:

  • Google Cloud Storage (GCS) – offers lifecycle management for the storage of multiple data types;
  • BigQuery Machine Learning (ML) – provides machine learning models;
  • Google Compute Engine – customizable virtual machines for Microsoft and Linux servers.

Platform advantages

GCP focuses on companies that lack an on-premises development environment. The company has exhibited substantial growth and is rapidly catching up to its CSP rivals in the diversity of services they offer. The platform supports integration with other Google products and is designed for containerized workloads.

Potential drawbacks

GCP offers a limited number of services compared to AWS and Azure. Google does not have the same level of ongoing relationships with enterprise customers as the other CSPs.

Finding the Best Cloud Provider for Your Business

VAST partners with AWS, Azure, and GCP, putting them in an excellent position to identify the right cloud provider for your business. VAST understands the unique qualities each CSP brings to the table and can help you align cloud services with your business objectives.

Working with VAST, your company will optimize its cloud computing investment. Whether your company needs a new SaaS solution from AWS, a development platform from GCP, or Azure extended services to support a Microsoft environment, VAST has it covered.

VAST will determine your best cloud solution, assist with the migration, and help manage the environment for optimal results. Get in touch with VAST today to begin a productive journey to the cloud.